Tuesday, 15 December: Meeting between Erdogan and Putin cancelled, Cameron faces resistance, EU opens talks with Turkey


Meeting between Erdogan and Putin cancelled: A bilateral summit between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan will not take place, the Kremlin said on Monday. The summit was agreed upon during a meeting between the two men in Turkey on the sidelines of a G20 summit last month which predated Ankara’s shooting down of a Russian military jet near the Syrian-Turkish border.

Agreement aims to accelerate climate protection: The climate-damaging greenhouse gas emmissions should be reduced by only 20 percent by the year 2020, compared to 1990. However, the reduction target could be increased to 30 percent if other states make comparable efforts. 184 countries have submitted climate targets which will indeed lead to significant emission reductions, but the temperature limit of 2 degrees Celsius will still be exceeded.

Cameron faces resistance: The EU summit on Thursday and Friday will deal with the refugee crisis and EU relations with Russia. For the Brits, however, the topic of discussion will be the EU reform and a possible Brexit. British Prime Minister David Cameron will pursue demands for a curb on in-work benefits for EU migrants in the UK. Cameron is pushing for EU reforms ahead of the UK’s in-out referendum, which he has promised will take place before the end of 2017. Cameron has faced resistance from other EU leaders over his proposal to make migrants wait for four years before being eligible for in-work benefits such as tax credits.

EU border plan faces resistance: A proposal to give the EU Commission the power to send forces unbidden into member states to defend the common European frontier will face resistance from some countries when it is published this week. The Commission wants to be able to deploy personnel from a new European Border and Coastguard Agency without the consent of the state concerned. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is becoming increasingly concerned about the lack of consensus among EU countries to address the refugee crisis.
euractiv.com (Commission), euractiv.com (IMF)

EU opens talks with Turkey: As part of the EU’s move to seek Turkish help in tackling the continent’s migration crisis, Brussels has opened further talks on Ankara’s long-standing bid to join the 28-member bloc. Negotiations have stalled for years, but now officials are discussing the EU’s financial and economic rules. A Turkish delegation was in Brussels on Monday to kick off the talks.

Switzerland can join Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank: Both the Council of States and the National Council approved the move on Monday. Members from the SP and Green parties criticised that the measure did not primarily promote development, but merely strengthened the Swiss position in Asian markets. Johann Schneider-Ammann, member of the Swiss Federal Council, assured the council that Switzerland would work to ensure that the AIIB does not finance coal or nuclear power plants.

Refugee crisis: Vice-President Kristalina Georgieva in Athens europa.eu
Egypt: Sinai crash probe finds no evidence of terrorism bbc.com
Growth targets: Maximising the contribution of the European Structural and Investment Funds to the Commission’s priorities europa.eu


Unfortunately, the compromise lags far behind the targets. We have hardly come any further than six years ago.
French economist and Nobel Prize winner Jean Tirole has expressed disappointment at the outcome of the climate conference in Paris.

Thousands of refugees were stranded in Budapest, they were setting out on foot along the road to Austria. This was a situation that put our European values to the test more than ever before. It was nothing more or less than a humanitarian imperative.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel defends her controversial refugee policy.


Sarkozy fires critic: After France’s game-changing regional elections in which the Front National hit a historic high, Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy immediately called a meeting of his conservative party, The Republicans, and fired his number two, Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, with whom he had clashed over electoral strategy. Sarkozy was promptly reprimanded by Alain Juppe, a former prime minister under President Jacques Chirac.

Fraport to manage Greek airports: German airport operator Fraport and a Greek partner company are to manage 14 airports in Greece under contract to the Greek government. Athens will retain ownership of the airports. The concession to operate, maintain, and improve them has been assigned to the Fraport-Copezoulos consortium in exchange for the latter’s payment of an initial concession fee of 1.23 billion euros, to be paid on the deal’s formal closing, expected in autumn 2016.

Swedish court sentences jihadists to life in prison: Two Swedish men were sentenced to life in prison on Monday for terrorist crimes in Syria in 2013. The two men were convicted of assisting in executions in Syria. Saudi Arabia on Tuesday announced the formation of a 34-state Islamic military coalition to combat terrorism. A long list of Arab countries such as Egypt, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, together with Islamic countries Turkey, Malaysia, Pakistan and Gulf Arab and African states were mentioned.
bbc.com, reuters.com

Greek financial crisis causes depression: The financial crisis in Greece is weighing heavily on people’s health. According to a new study, almost half of the Greek population is psychologically stressed. The Athens opinion research institute GPO found that every second person is suffering from anxiety, restlessness, and uncertainty due to the crisis. The number of people suffering from depression is also increasing.

IMF recommendations for Austria: The International Monetary Fund has called on Austria to quickly lower its government debt. In return, the bank says there should be cuts in spending for pensions, education, and health. The wave of refugees flooding into Austria could bolster the country’s economic growth if Vienna continues to work on integrating them quickly, the IMF said. More should be done to ease restrictions on asylum seekers working while their applications are being processed.
imf.org, reuters.com

Government crisis in Bulgaria: Bulgaria’s recent judicial reform is shaking up the government of Prime Minister Boyko Borissov. Justice Minister Hristo Ivanov tendered his resignation during a second vote on constitutional changes that seek to overhaul the judiciary. Ivanov sought to have a higher number or prosecutors appointed to the council. The prosecution has been criticized for being inefficient in fighting corruption among senior public officials. Bulgarian politician Radan Kanev has also resigned from the coalition.

Turkey: Seven people killed amid protests against curfews theguardian.com
Kosovo: Parliament hit by fresh tear-gas protest bbc.com
Ukraine: US Vice President Biden holds speech in parliament euractiv.de

⊂ DATA ⊃

The total number of illegal crossings of EU borders between January and November 2015 is said to be almost 1.5 million.


politjobs.eu: 350.org seeks campaigner *** Steltemeier & Rawe seeks Senior Associate (m/f) *** 1&1 sucht EU Public Affairs Manager VKU sucht Referentin/en *** Afore Consulting seeks Junior Consultants in European Public Affairs
politjobs.eu, politjobs.eu/submit (Inserat schalten)


The Queen’s pen pal: It was a faithful ritual that spanned almost 60 years: Every holiday season, Andrew Simes’ grandfather would, without fail, send a Christmas card to Queen Elizabeth II. When his grandfather died in 2011, Simes took on the card-writing duty. But a month later, he received an unexpected response from the monarch herself. The Queen, upon learning of his grandfather’s death, wrote a personal letter to Simes, extending her condolences to him and his family.


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